The importance of a properly designed warm-up routine cannot be overstated. This might not seem glamorous or impressive but it is the foundation for all kick-ass workouts: you can't achieve your best without a properly executed dynamic warm-up.
Warm-ups act as both a training technique and an important habit for good athlete self-care. On a biological level, you'll receive incredible, superhero-style benefits from a thorough warm up routine.
- Improved soft tissue quality and extensibility
- Increased body temperature
- Activated and strengthened target muscle groups
- Improved mobility and movement potential
- Improved activation potential of working muscles
- Improved ability to get into better positions
Most importantly, warming-up decreases your chances of injury; ensuring you can keep up with your training and reach your full potential.
At UFS, we use a 3-step warm-up system to get our athletes and clients ready to perform at their best. Below I have outlined the 3 stages themselves and how they assist and support the body's functions both during and after your session.
- Step 1 – Self Myofascial Release (SMR)
This is used to improve soft tissue quality and extensibility by releasing trigger
points or “knots” in the muscles. Trigger points in the muscle tend to restrict the muscles ability to activate, thus inhibiting performance and exacerbating the potential for injury. SMR-focused exercises help stimulate the right muscles to contract more efficiently, allowing athletes to assume the optimum position when lifting.
- Step 2 – Mobility
We focus on mobility in order to improve the athlete's movement potential,
which we achieve by increasing the joint's range of motion at typically restricted points (ankles, hips and thoracic spine). The mobility phase of a warm-up routine targets movement specific positions in preparation for the upcoming training session.
By ensuring your body is prepared to assume the correct positions required for your activity, you improve your power potential while (once again) decreasing your chances of injury.
- Step 3 – Activation
There are certain muscle groups essential to effective training which are often inhibited. Inhibited muscles don't work at their full capacity, lazily sitting back and allowing the synergistic (supportive) muscles to compensate by working harder and becoming overactive. Needless to say, and in keeping with the running theme, activation-focused exercises help prevent injury by keeping all your muscles working together, enhancing their dynamic stability and force production.
In Part 2 we will show you 3 Warm-Ups we use at UFS which incorporate the principles of our 3-step system that you can use to get you started. Look out for it in the coming days...